Charlotte’s First Craft Coffee Festival is Coming to South End

February 13, 2018 10:17 pm

For most of us, coffee serves one purpose: caffeine. Whether it’s made in a communal coffee pot at an office, a single-serve brewing machine at home or a pour over at a local coffee shop, we typically don’t think about where the coffee came from, how it was roasted or which flavor notes are in our mugs, and it makes sense why.

“No one wants a TED talk at 7:00 A.M. when they go in for their coffee. I just want my coffee,” says Diana Mnatsakanyan-Sapp, the founder of the Charlotte Coffee Collective, a group of coffee professionals who host workshops and panels about coffee for the Charlotte community.

Photo by Elli McGuire

Mnatsakanyan-Sapp, who has worked in coffee for six years and is currently helping to open Undercurrent Coffee in Plaza Midwood, is part of the duo behind POUR, Charlotte’s first craft coffee festival happening in March. Matt Dudley, who is the other half of the planning team, first had the idea for a coffee festival in South End after seeing a similar event in Dallas when he was traveling for his work with Marco Beverage Systems.

“I thought this would be a great way to highlight specialty coffee and raise awareness of it in Charlotte,” says Dudley.

Matt knew Diana from the Charlotte Coffee Collective and was able to easily sell her on the idea of hosting a coffee festival in the Queen City. After months of planning, POUR will come to life on March 3rd, gathering roasters and coffee experts from across the southeast at Unknown Brewing.

“We’ve got nine different local and regional roasters participating,” says Dudley. “It’ll give attendees the opportunity to a different type of interaction with a local roaster than they’ve had before.”

Along with providing a caffeine fix, the team planning POUR plans to use the event as an educational opportunity. Throughout the day, there will be interactive experiences to learn more about coffee, how it’s made and what sets craft coffee apart from Folgers.

“We see a lot of similarities in specialty coffee like we do in wine,” says Mnatsakanyan-Sapp. “I think a lot of people are drinking the coffee equivalent of two buck chuck and thinking that a fifty dollar bottle of merlot is going to taste the same way.”

Photo by Elli McGuire

One of the ways POUR will teach people about coffee will be a flavor tasting area where attendees can try out some of the flavors that are found in coffee, making it easier to identify the same flavors in their coffee samples during the day. The event will also have demonstrations on latte art and home brewing, an interactive mural to learn about coffee farming, and many coffee samples, offering coffee lovers the option to choose how they spend the day.

“If someone wants to come in and just taste a bunch of really amazing coffees from roasters in their region, they can do that,” Mnatsakanyan-Sapp. “If someone wants to come in and get hyper up on caffeine while also learning a bunch of stuff, they can do that too.”

Tickets for the POUR coffee festival are $10 for adults and are on sale here. Proceeds from the event will go to a scholarship fund providing opportunities for more women, people of color, queer people and trans people to participate in coffee competitions, as many members of these minority groups lack the resources or support to participate. 

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